Downtown View: The Royal Baby

How about Prince George! Two attractive, nice parents. A comfortable nest egg. A well-fitted nursery. A great-grandmother, a grandfather and a father to teach him everything he needs to know for his future profession. It can’t get better than that.

The news is a relief. We’ve had to endure Whitey, who turned out to be another Boston Strangler, and murderer George Zimmerman, whose freedom seems wrong no matter how you slice it. That’s not to mention the reports of Syria’s brutality, continuing violence in some Boston neighborhoods and the shenanigans of Anthony Weiner. We needed a happy blessed event.

So far, Prince George’s arrival has prompted much entertainment, from the comedian John Oliver to the tongue-in-cheek Sarah Lyall reporting in the New York Times.

The rigamarole makes me think of two things: how the younger royals are better than the older ones, and how too few babies are treated royally.

Queen Elizabeth, for all her grace and longevity, has ruined lives. She forbade her younger sister Margaret from marrying Captain Peter Townsend because he was divorced. Margaret went on to marry a man deemed appropriate, but she herself got divorced and never seemed happy.

The Queen’s next victim was her son Charles, who as a young man was not allowed to marry Camilla. Was she not pretty enough? Camilla eventually married Andrew Parker-Bowles. She later divorced him and married Charles. Everyone now seems happy. They remind me of a couple I once knew. One was Jewish; one Catholic. Their parents pressured them not to marry. Reluctantly they split and married other people. After both got divorced, they reunited. At that point the man’s father apologized to his son for interfering with his happiness. We don’t know if Queen Elizabeth apologized to Charles.

Of course, the Queen’s saddest victim was Diana, chosen for her health and beauty, much as the Queen chose the horses she bred. Diana and Charles’s marriage fell apart, since he was still seeing Camilla.

The royals now can be thankful that the Queen did not prevent William from marrying a commoner.

So Prince George, who we hoped would have four given names but has only three, will have a wonderful life, and his great-grandmother won’t be able to ruin it, since his sensible parents appear to be in charge. A friend maintains the Queen was only doing what she saw as her duty. But good leaders see past custom and duty to a broader good.

A nagging thought is that Prince George’s life will be different from too many American babies’ lives. It’s not that he’ll be a king.

The difference is that he’ll have two parents, while one-fourth of American children have no father living with them. Among African-American families, more than half the children are being raised by single mothers. A good portion of these children will suffer poverty, become involved in crime and receive less education than children with involved fathers.

It’s partly a problem with men. Some have called it a crisis.

Unlike Prince William, who can wrangle a rescue helicopter, American men in the lower socio-economic levels increasingly lack skills and education. The recent recession has shown how deep the problem is.

Marriage has fallen out of fashion, except among the higher income levels and, ironically for the “defenders” of marriage, with same-sex couples. Women are better educated and more employable. Such women refuse to marry men less educated and employable than they. So they have babies alone. But it’s better for babies if they have two parents, same or opposite sex, since it’s hard to raise children with two parents, much less alone.

The answer to this problem is better police enforcement, and more jobs, but the most important solution comes from better education. Longer school days, longer school years, teaching targeted to missing skills, enrichment programs, after-school programs, expansive sports programs, healthy school breakfasts and lunches—all the details that must be part of the next mayor’s agenda. Good education not only solves job problems, it also reduces crime and improves family life.

We don’t have royals, but we do have noble people, and some are running for mayor of Boston. The candidate who has the most cogent and effective plan for improving Boston schools, should be king in our book.

Downtown View is a regular column by Karen Cord Taylor who founded The Beacon Hill Times weekly newspaper in 1995 and served as its editor and publisher until late 2007. She also founded and served as editor and publisher of the Charlestown Patriot-Bridge and The Back Bay Sun weeklies. Her column appears in those newspapers as well as the Regional Review, which serves Boston’s North End. These weeklies are now owned by the Independent Newspaper Group. She is the author of “Blue Laws, Brahmins and Breakdown Lanes: An Alphabetic Guide to Boston and Bostonians” and the co-author of “The Lady Architects,” a book about three women who practiced architecture in New England and elsewhere in the early 20th century. She lives in downtown Boston and blogs at


3 Replies to “Downtown View: The Royal Baby

  1. Great article, but I don’t think it’s as simple as more education. How do you “make” people see the value of educating their children, when a good chunk of the women having babies are mere teenagers themselves? You can’t really force anyone to send their kids to school, to help them with their homework, communicate with their teachers, or bottom line – take in interest in their children’s future.

    You can throw education, services, money, etc at the problem… but until you change the culture and get the people on board that you’re trying to help… And in the meantime these poor kids are dragging down the system for everyone when they aren’t prepared for school, and then life…

    I did like your article, and I’m not trying to bomb it. Just trying to add to discussion. 🙂

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